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Came across this video from 2007 and thought I'd share, in case some of you haven't seen it before. Not much, if any, new information for serious fans of ACD and SH, but interesting to see David Burke, David Stuart Davies, and some others :)

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The author Hugh Ashton explores Dr Watson's writing style, as compared to ACD's other works, in this article:


Moffat about Dr Watson

On the importance of Dr. Watson

"If you look at any good version of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson is every bit as important as Sherlock Holmes, and some would argue more so, because he's our conduit to Sherlock Holmes. He's the person to whom, in a way, the story happens. We are more emotionally resonant with Dr. Watson than with Sherlock Holmes because Sherlock Holmes is a hard man to empathize with."

(Source: NPR interview; you can read the highlights and listen to the full audio HERE)

A Tale Of Two Hounds

Hound of the Baskervilles is perhaps Sir Arthur Conan Doyles best known and most famous Sherlock Holmes story. It is a lovely exciting story that is very much placing Dr Watson at the centre of the story instead of Holmes. And yet despite this we still see the bond of friendship shine through and illustrates perfectly Watson's loyalty and role as biographer, doctor, former soldier and friend. I spent Easter Sunday thinking about Doyle's famous story and wanted to share this with you as I do mention Dr Watson on a number of occasions!


I hope that you enjoy it and Happy Easter and Happy Holidays to everyone!

In Defense of Doctor Watson!

It is no secret that Doctor Watson’s good name has been in question within our popular culture for some time.  For decades he was reduced to little more than comic relief; a doting sidekick.  The Russian television version of Sherlock Holmes, Granada’s stellar series, the major motion pictures and now the BBC’s Sherlock have made great strides in reinstating the Good Doctor to his rightful place within the Holmes Canon.  Their profound impact upon popular culture have introduced new generations to that delicious pastime we all love:  “Playing The Game”. 

Recently, an article appeared in The University Daily Kansan, which sought to cast some of the more modern incarnations of Watson in the light of the old stereotypes.  The folks at The Baker Street Blog asked if people cared to respond to this.  While Doctor John H. Watson, M.D., is used to defending the Ladies, I felt certain that as a Gentleman he would not mind (within this instance) if this lady took up her pen to defend him.  You may find my response here.

Many thanks for the invitation to post this here in the Consulting Room.  :-)  Cheers!

Medications: then and now

From "A doctor enjoys Sherlock Holmes", by Edward J. Van Liere, 1959
"...As to the drugs used in Watson's day, only about a dozen are mentioned. Among them were ammonia, amyl nitrite, brandy, caffeine, ether, chloroform, iodoform, carbolic acid, curare, and silver nitrate. A survey made in England in the early part of this century showed that physicians considered from twenty to twenty-five drugs necessary to practice medicine satisfactorily. If a survey were made today, it is likely that more would be listed, because during the past few years potent antibiotic agents have been discovered and great strides have been made in chemotherapy.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, the famous poet-physician, if living today, could not write as he did in the last century: 'If the whole materia medica (excepting opium and ether) as now used could be sunk to the bottom of the sea it would be all the better for mankind--and all the worse for the fishes.' "

Dr Watson And The BMJ

I thought i would share this with you all. In the Christmas edition of the BMJ, there was an amusing article in which it was specualated that Dr Watson was an avid reader of the British Medical Journal. Evidence is provided by both Holmes and Watson of Dr Watson's interest in the BMJ by referring to the cannon! It is a delightful read and i hope you enjoy it as much as i did!



This a delightful essay--I'd seen it before, but not read it closely. This is the beginning:
If there is anything pleasant in life, it is doing what we aren’t meant to do.  If there is anything pleasant in criticism, it is finding out what we aren’t meant to find out.  It is the method by which we treat as significant what the author did not mean to be significant, by which we single out as essential what the author regarded as incidental. 

Thus, if one brings out a book on turnips, the modern scholar tries to discover from it whether the author was on good terms with his wife;  if a poet writes on buttercups, every word he says may be used as evidence against him at an inquest of his views on a future existence.  On this fascinating principle, we delight to extort economic evidence from Aristophanes, because Aristophanes knew nothing of economics: we try to extract cryptograms from Shakespeare, because we are inwardly certain that Shakespeare never put them there: we sift and winnow the Gospel of St. Luke, in order to produce a Synoptic problem, because St. Luke, poor man, never knew the Synoptic problem to exist.

There is, however, a special fascination in applying this method to Sherlock Holmes, because it is, in a sense, Holmes’s own method.  ‘It has long been an axiom of mine,’ he says, ‘that the little things are infinitely the most important.’  It might be the motto of his life’s work.  And it is, is it not, as we clergymen say, by the little things, the apparently unimportant things, that we judge of a man’s character.
This was written by Monsignor Knox in 1911 (you can read the entire essay here: www.diogenes-club.com/studies.htm ) and Conan Doyle himself was amused by it--you can see his response here: www.diogenes-club.com/knox.htm
Many thanks to wytchcroft for pointing out an excellent audio version of this essay--it is a pleasure to listen to it! You can listen from the website or download it here: www.archive.org/details/KnoxHolmessay

A Doctor Enjoys Sherlock Holmes

I have come across a very interesting book and I thought I would share--while there are hundreds of books of critical analysis of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, their characters and all other aspects, this book is written from an unique perspective: the author was a practicing physician.

I have come across this book via the "Always 1895" blog; the entire book is available for reading online (or for download) from the HathiTrust Ditital Library here: hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015046792662

The book's author is Edward J. Van Liere, the title is "A Doctor Enjoys Sherlock Holmes" and the copyright date is 1959.

The book is a series of critical essays, many of them on medical topics (of course), such as " 'Brain fever' and Sherlock Holmes", "Doctor Watson, Cardiologist" and "The Therapeutic Doctor Watson." However, there are also some essays on more general topics, such as: "Dogs and Sherlock Holmes" and "Doctor Watson and the Weather." Moreover, some of the essays focus mostly on  Sherlock Holmes, for example, "Sherlock Holmes, The Chemist" and "Genetics and Sherlock Holmes".

I have found many of the essays in this book fascinating; there is one in particular I'd like to share below; it concerns the ubiquitous brandy flask, which is so often mentioned in the stories, and is entitled "Doctor Watson's Universal Specific". Enjoy!


". . . with the aid of ammonia and brandy, I had the satisfaction of seeing him open his eyes."

The Greek Interpreter

The therapeutic agent most frequently used by Dr. Watson was brandy. Mention is made of this stimulant in a number of the tales. Let us examine the conditions in which Dr. Watson's favorite remedy was used. In The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, Sherlock Holmes had accused the pathetic Ryder of stealing the valuable carbuncle. The poor wretch turned pale, and Holmes remarked to Watson, "Give him a drink of brandy." In describing this incident, Watson writes, "For a moment he had staggered and nearly fallen, but the brandy brought a tinge of colour into his cheeks. . . ."

We find, in The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge, that when the eminently respectable Mr. Scott Eccles was relating his strange experience to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Inspector Gregson of Scotland Yard came in unannounced and informed Eccles that Mr. Garcia, his host of the preceding night, had been found murdered. Dr. Watson writes that their client turned deathly pale. Holmes quickly suggested to Watson that he give Eccles a brandy and soda. This evidently helped the poor fellow; he gulped it down, and his face soon resumed its normal color.

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Edward Hardwicke

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